Southwest Airlines Gets International Flight Help

DALLAS (AP) – Southwest Airlines Co. said Thursday it will use a travel-reservations system from Amadeus IT Group to operate international flights in 2014.

The contract could be expanded to Southwest’s domestic network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Dallas-based Southwest doesn’t fly beyond the lower 48 states. But last year it bought AirTran, which flies to Mexico and the Caribbean, and plans to fold AirTran into the Southwest brand.

Amadeus will be used for Southwest as AirTran’s international flights switch over to Southwest, the companies said. Southwest has said its current reservation system can’t handle international operations.

Separately, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said on a conference call with investors and reporters that his company will not change AirTran’s policy of charging customers to check baggage, nor will it eliminate AirTran’s first-class cabins. Southwest doesn’t charge bag fees and doesn’t sell first-class seating.

“They have a nice brand, they have a fare structure that includes fees, and that will continue until it gets converted to Southwest Airlines,” Kelly said of AirTran.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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